Dakar, Senegal, May 28, 2014: An interactive map, showing that the governments of 14 African nations were on course or within touching distance of reaching the historic mark of everyone in their countries having access to clean drinking water by 2030, was launched online. It was published by the international development charity WaterAid.
View the Africa Water Map: http://www.wateraid.org/africawaterweek
The map was released on the day that African water ministers and delegates arrived in Dakar, Senegal, for the African Water Week conference, for talks about whether they should back a proposed new global sustainable development goal for universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene by the year 2030.
WaterAid is lobbying with ministers and delegates at the conference for the outcome communiqué to include such a commitment.
Nelson Gomonda, WaterAid’s Pan-African Programme manager, said, “This map shows that a new water, sanitation and hygiene sustainable development goal that puts Africa on track to everyone having access to these essential services by 2030 is realistic and achievable.”
“Many African countries are already on course to achieve this historic milestone at the current rates of progress, and most others can get there with relatively modest improvements in levels of access,” he added.
“Ministers at the Africa Water Week conference should grasp this opportunity to set in motion a happier, healthier and more prosperous future for everyone on the continent,” Gomonda added.
The map was said to be the first online interactive data representation project produced with a predominantly African audience in mind, which is increasingly online and social media-savvy.
According to the International Telecommunications Union, around 177 million Africans are now Internet users, while over 50 million Africans have Facebook accounts.
The African Water Map showed that on average, about 28 million people are gaining access to water each year across Africa, but that if this increased by an extra 17 million people, that everyone everywhere across the continent would have access to clean water by 2030.
Currently over a third of the African population (325 million) lack access to clean drinking water, while over 70 per cent (approximately 643 million), go without basic sanitation.
A lack of access to these services costs Sub-Saharan Africa over $50 billion every year in healthcare costs and lost productivity, more than the continent receives in aid.
About 4,81,000 Africans die every year because of diarrhoea and diseases attributable to a lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene. A lack of access to these essential services is also understood have a substantial impact on the prevalence and mortality associated with pneumonia, and under-nutrition on the continent.
The UN has estimated that half the hospital beds in developing countries are filled with people suffering from diseases caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene. (Source: African Press Organisation [APO] on behalf of WaterAid)